Pharmacy student shows wine may prevent cancer

Third-year student Hin Hin Ko is the winner of this year's Alan C. Hayman Summer Student Research Competition, held annually in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Ko, supervised by Asst. Prof. Thomas Chang, demonstrated for the first time that the compound resveratrol, found in some grape skins and red wine, inhibits enzymes that may trigger the formation of cancer-causing agents.

"Hin Hin showed she really understood the science behind her research," says Asst. Prof. Kishor Wasan, director of the summer student research program. "She was also able to communicate what she discovered in a clear, concise and organized way."

Ko says she got involved in the summer research program to help her make an informed decision about pursuing graduate work.

"Listening to other people's experiences in the lab can never compare to discovering something new on my own," says Ko. "Learning through research gave me a lot of satisfaction."

Ko's study may lead to further testing of resveratrol on human enzymes to test its potential as a cancer preventive agent.

Thirty students participated in the competition. Second, third and fourth prizes went to Frank Strobel, Poonan Sethi and Vincent Fung.

Their research was supervised by Asst. Prof. Kishor Wasan, Prof. John McNeill and Adjunct Prof. Lawrence Mayer respectively.

A team of four Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty members judged the competition.